An irate social media influencer and charity founder is facing a $230-a-week rent increase from her Meriton landlord just days after a “greedy” email leaked from the apartment’s developer.
Construction giant Meriton sparked a national outcry last week after sending an email to its rental and building management team encouraging its landlords to raise rents — despite the national rent crisis.
The memo encouraged staff and property owners to “press rents as hard as possible” as the rental market was “on fire” with extremely low vacancy rates.
Among hundreds of tenants now scrambling to cover the rent increase is Milly Rose Bannister, founder of influencer and mental health charity, who lives in a Meriton complex in Sydney.
She weighed in on the “absolutely cooked” saga on Sunday after being told she would soon pay an additional $12,000 a year if her rent rises from $670 a week to $900 in two months.
Milly Rose Bannister (pictured) is one of hundreds of Meriton tenants facing a rent increase
“Have you seen the Meriton scandal? It’s absolutely cooked,” Bannister said in the TikTok video.
“Basically, this shadowy email was leaked from Meriton bosses at headquarters telling all their landlords to push rents as hard as they can and sign six-month leases so they raise rents more often.”
She was left shocked and furious by the confirmation of the 35 percent increase.
“That’s $230 a week and almost $12,000 a year!” Mrs Bannister continued.
“I met someone in the Meriton next door yesterday who said they’ve been evicted because their rent is going up $1,000 a week and they’re getting three students into a room.
“Unfortunately, there is no limit to how much Meriton can enlarge the apartments [rent] every year, no limits on the percentage and you can’t do anything about it unless you want to go to court. Not fun.’
Her video garnered more than 127,000 views within hours and hundreds of comments that have divided the internet.
“Tenants’ conditions don’t change… no one is counting on a $12,000 raise!” Ms. Bannister wrote in the comments.
Milly Rose Bannister expressed outrage after learning her rent will rise from $670 a week to $900, a 35 percent increase
Many viewers encouraged Ms Bannister to challenge the huge rent increase at the tribunal.
‘Go to court. I was given an 8 percent raise that was judged excessive. Landlord terminated me three days later. Back to tribunal for expulsion in retaliation,” one viewer advised.
Mrs Bannister replied: ‘However, this case is not extreme or unique – it happens to everyone and it is legal.’
Others warned against further action, especially if she plans to stay.
“That works until your lease expires… guarantee it won’t be renewed,” one wrote.
Ms Bannister’s ordeal also caught the attention of Greens candidate Izabella Antoniou, who is running for Summer Hill in Sydney’s inner west in the upcoming NSW election.
“Successive federal and state policies have turned our rental market into a profit-driven scam that plays off housing insecurity,” she wrote.
“There is currently no recourse for tenants in these types of situations.”
A leaked email from Meriton, Australia’s largest apartment developer, details the company’s plans to raise rents for tenants. Pictured is a Meriton complex
The social media influencer was shocked to read the leaked Meriton email after it went viral
Other viewers shared their own Meriton rental nightmares.
“I was kicked out of my Meriton because they said the landlords were moving in, but when I left it was online for more rent,” one woman commented.
Another former tenant added, “Just moved out of our Meriton apartment on Monday after two years, the rent has gone up $400 a week all at once.”
A third recalled, “My rent in Botany went from $595 to $950. Yes, I moved.”
While Ms. Bannister echoed viewers’ calls for governments and authorities to intervene, others believed there was nothing wrong with Meriton.
“Newsflash – it’s a competitive market and people invest in real estate to make money,” one commented.
Another added: “It’s not a scandal. That’s called supply and demand. They are investors who maximize their returns. Did you make a video two years ago where rents fell by 30 percent?’
Mrs Bannister replied: ‘I agree – but it’s cutthroat the way they go about it and the complete monopoly they have in the apartment market.’
Milly Rose Bannister has called on governments and authorities to deal with the crisis
Meriton, which manages 4,250 properties across Australia on behalf of landlords, denies that the development giant was greedy.
“Hello everyone, as you all know the market is on fire and vacancy rates are extremely low so make sure you push rents as hard as you can,” the leaked email read.
‘Students are arriving and we are going to see record numbers this year.
“For HOT/family units, make sure you are performing above targets, especially if you have nothing available and are doing six month leases.
‘For landlords, I recommend starting with a six-month lease, because then you have the opportunity to increase the rent more quickly in a rising market.
“Also, make sure you do your rent reviews now while the market is hot.”
A spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia last week that the rent increase had “nothing to do with greed, otherwise Meriton apartments wouldn’t be full.”
Meriton manages 4,250 properties on behalf of landlords and part of that service is ensuring that landlords get a ‘market rent’ for their properties, the spokesperson said.
The development giant defended its decision to encourage landlords to raise rents. Pictured is Meriton founder and billionaire Harry Triguboff
“Rents are no higher than they were before Covid and of course costs have gone up.
Recent inflationary pressures have also affected rental values, but this appears to be even worse in Sydney, where there is a chronic undersupply of apartments. Meriton is working hard with local and state governments to accelerate approvals to meet NSW’s much-needed housing needs.”
They also pointed out that Meriton wouldn’t be able to rent any of its apartments if the construction giant was “greedy.”
“The banks are raising interest rates quickly, why aren’t they called greedy?” the spokesperson added.